ORNSKOLDSVIK, Sweden – Former NHL star Peter Forsberg returned to pro hockey Thursday night, scoring the opening goal in a 4-1 win for hometown club Modo against Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League.
Forsberg, one of the few players to win a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and world championship, said he almost forgot how to score.
“It was such a long time ago that I almost forgot what to do afterward,” he told Swedish news agency TT.
Forsberg, 36, made a late-season return to the Colorado Avalanche last year, but injuries kept him out of nine of 18 regular-season NHL games and three of four games in the second round of the playoffs.
Playing before a sellout crowd at Swedbank Arena, Forsberg scored at 15:21 in the first.
He picked up a pass from behind the net, skated in front of goalie Andreas Hadelov, faked a defenceman and fired the puck into the corner.
Forsberg was greeted by a standing ovation from his hometown fans in this small northern Swedish town when he entered the ice before the opening faceoff.
“This was much more nervous than my comeback with Colorado last season,” he said. “But I don’t regret my choice.
“It’s nice to be back in my Modo jersey and to play again with all those great guys on the team. Also, it was great to get three important points for the team.”
Forsberg left Modo 15 years ago for the NHL, disappointed after losing the Swedish League final. His next chance to win a Swedish title came in 2004-’05 during the NHL lockout, but Modo, despite plenty of NHL players, lost in the quarter-finals of the playoffs.
Now Forsberg is hoping for another Swedish title.
“My foot is OK, but I’m not really happy what I did one the ice tonight,” he said.
The injury-plagued Forsberg has been back on the ice in recent weeks to test his ailing right foot after surgery.
This was his first big game in 10 months. He played a minor-league game last week.
“Peter made a really good comeback after what happened in the last few years,” Modo coach Harri Rindell said. “After a pretty tough season he saw his team winning in a convincing way.”
Forsberg’s team is eighth in the 12-team Swedish Elite League – considered Europe’s best – and in pretty good shape to make the playoffs.